I must confess- I’m not a fan of musicals. I have always enjoyed watching movies and plays because they are a perfect mix of dialogues, dance and music but watching an entire play in the form of song and dance…. well, it could get a bit monotonous and boring. I still remember watching the American musical drama film -‘The sound of Music’ when I was in school and my 12 year old self quickly grew bored and listless with all the non-stop music and I just couldn’t take all that singing and dancing for 2 hours and 54 minutes to be precise. It was a beautiful and emotional story, no doubt, but I couldn’t stop myself from thinking how wonderful the movie could have been if it didn’t involve so much music (15 songs). It seems fascinating at first, to see the story unfold through songs and music but soon enough the charm wears off and I find myself wishing desperately for some dialogues to be delivered in a normal conversational tone and not in a sing-song manner.
After this particular experience, I was reluctant to watch another musical but I decided to break my self-made rule of abstaining from musicals and bought the ticket for ‘Beauty and the Beast’. I did this because of three main reasons- first, even though it was a musical it was based on my absolute favourite fairy tale- Beauty and the Beast, so I was curious to see how they would manage to pull off a stellar motion picture in the form of a musical. Second, the musical was being presented by Disney India and was touted to be at the level of Broadway shows performed in New York and London’s West End theatre and lastly, it had received excellent reviews and every person who had seen the musical couldn’t stop gushing about it. These reasons were enough to tempt me and Kaajal to spend our Sunday afternoon watching the Beauty and the Beast musical at NSCI, Dome.
Both of us were super excited to see the musical love story and Kaajal even wore a yellow top (unfortunately we did not have a yellow gown :P) in honour of our favourite fairy tale character Beauty. The moment we entered the dome, I felt like I was transported into a different world because the set was simply stunning and the shining yellow and red lights gave the entire place a warm and ethereal glow. Before the play began, an announcement was made informing the audience to switch off their mobile phones so that the performers are not disturbed because they would be singing live on stage. This came as a surprise to me because I expected them to perform with pre-recorded songs but the fact that they would sing and dance live on stage was indeed impressive.
As soon as the play began, I was transfixed by the very first scene when a fairy disguised as a beggar visits the self centered prince asking for shelter in his castle for one night and offers him a single red rose in exchange. The cold hearted prince refuses to let her stay and rudely turns her out of his home which angers the fairy who curses the prince and his entire household, transforming him into a beast and all his servants into inanimate household objects. The curse will only be broken if the beast learns to love another person and receives true love in return however, there is a catch- this must happen before the last rose petal falls or else he will be doomed to a miserable and lonely life as a beast and all his servants will turn into objects forever and will lose their human form. The extravagant set, especially Beast’s castle, is a sight to behold and the lighting effects, choreography (by Terence Lewis) and songs are equally spellbinding.
As the play progressed, I was unable to remove my eyes off the stage for even a single second. While every scene was a delight to watch, my absolute favourite was the one where Beauty wears the iconic yellow dress and dances with Beast in the ballroom against the backdrop of a splendid full moon and a starry night sky. Also the scene where Beast fights with the wolves to save Beauty was impressive and the most iconic scene was the climax, when the Beast almost dies fighting with Gaston (the egoistic and narricistic hunter who wants to marry Belle) but is ultimately saved when Beauty admits that she is in love with him. The last scene when the curse breaks and Beast transforms into a handsome prince is as magical as it is in the Disney movie. Surprisingly even though the entire story was in the form of a musical, I wasn’t bored even for a nano second. Every dance, every costume and every song was brilliant and the comic banter between Lumiere (the valet who was turned into a candlestick) and Cogsworth (the head of the household staff who was transformed into a clock) was a laugh riot. When the show ended, everybody in the audience gave a thunderous applause and a standing ovation to the super talented star cast who managed to sing and dance live to perfection.
I remember walking out of the dome with a happy buzz and a dreamy smile because my Sunday afternoon had turned out to be truly magical. Kaajal and I had a ball of a time and our experience had us rethinking about our opinion on musicals. The kktwins give this Disney musical a thumbs up and it is 110% recommended and definitely a must watch. If I’m not mistaken the Beauty and the Beast musical is coming back to dazzle Mumbaikars this May, so without any hesitation log on to Book My Show and gift yourself a spectacular fairy tale this year!